News / USA

Manning Testifies in Wikileaks Pre-Trial Hearing

Manning Testifies in Wikileaks Pre-Trial Hearing
Manning Testifies in Wikileaks Pre-Trial Hearing
Luis Ramirez
U.S. Army private and Iraq War veteran Bradley Manning has testified at a pre-trial hearing, making his first public comments since he was arrested for allegedly leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the Wikileaks website in what some say is the largest leak of secret military information in U.S. history.

To Bradley Manning’s supporters,  gathered on a cold rainy day outside the base where the hearings were under way,  he is a hero.

To U.S. military prosecutors, Manning is a traitor who leaked hundreds of thousands of secret documents and aided the enemy. A conviction could mean a life sentence for the 24-year-old former intelligence analyst.  

Manning is trying to avoid going to trial and has offered to plead guilty to leaking documents to Wikileaks.  

Website founder Julian Assange spoke this week about the Manning case, saying it is the U.S. military that is on trial. 

Manning's lawyers argue he has been abused while in custody. In testimony Thursday, he said that after his arrest he was held in a tiny cell. He described it as a cage where he thought he would die.

Analysts say the argument has boosted public sympathy for Manning and has taken some of the focus away from damage that the leaks may have caused.  

Defense analyst Lawrence Korb says it also has raised an ethical dilemma.

“We’ve never had a thing like this where all the confidential cables have gotten out," Korb noted, "and I think some people are saying you won’t be able to try him rightly because of the way you treated him.  Others say, ‘how can you treat someone like this given who we are and what we’re supposed to stand for.'”

While serving in Iraq, Manning voiced opposition to the war, and the classified materials he leaked pointed to alleged atrocities by U.S. troops.

But it is not clear at this stage how Manning’s leaks - as massive as they were - affected national security.  

The case is raising questions about whether Manning was psychologically fit to be in the army.

Former superiors describe him as an emotionally troubled individual who was confused about his gender and had trouble relating to others.  

For Korb, the case spells a need for reform in the Army’s screening process.

“From 2003 to 2007 when the war, particularly in Iraq, was so unpopular, the army had a very difficult time recruiting people," Korb explained, "so they had to lower their standards and in fact, the army gave 80,000 what they called moral waivers from 2003 to 2007. So, this is a young man who should never have been in the service.”

Pentagon officials have refrained from speaking on the case to avoid prejudicing the outcome.

The trial - if it happens - is expected to begin in about two months.

You May Like

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

Indian PM Calls for Unity Amid Tense Climate Over Beef Attacks

Recent series of beef-related incidents seen as signs of rising intolerance toward Muslims and other religious minorities More

Why These Are New York City's Most Treasured Spaces

Under threat of jail time and fines, some New York property owners are not allowed to renovate their spaces without prior approval More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs